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May 19, 2008 04:02 PM

Fav Fresno Places

Just a quick post to give some of my humble opinions on the best of Fresno….

Chef’s Table – Though it is attached to Elbow Room, the 2 have little in common besides ownership and location. First class service, menu and ambiance. This is a special occasion place, bring the $$$$.

Cracked Pepper -
literally, second in the "best meals in Fresno" in my humble opinion. The bread pudding, which I normally can’t stand, is amazing! Coincidentally, it is the only thing on the “take-out” menu. Absolutely try the eggplant napoleon….so wonderful!

Flemings - chain, but still really yummy -

Bistro Rustico - good nearing great "new" Italian. Plus, I like that they use mostly local ingredients.

Pangea - newish Fresno scene...good with occasional flashes of great small plates -

Twist - the new Fresno scene...goodish food -

Cafe Rousseau in the Tower – Sometimes the food is a hit or miss (I think it depends on who is cooking), but the bar is a wonderful spot!

Tacos Tijuana on Belmont – Not the classiest joint in Fresno, but the fish tacos are killer!

Long Island – Dependably good food with a “Cheers”ish vibe. If the special is ever chicken wellington, order it!

Thai House off Shaw – Yummy, yummy, yummy. Gold bags and basil fried rice are a must!

Max’s Café – I sometimes get cravings for the sweet potato fries. Some of the rest of the menu is hit and miss. The chicken salad is always good. Also a place that values local produce, etc.

Downtown Club – The update in management has really done some wonderful things to the menu. Unfortunately, I think you have to be a member to eat here and it is only open for lunch.

Trelio (clovis) – The food is normally goodish. I had the best pumpkin soup there. The brown bag dinners are super fun.

Sam’s deli – yes please! Such good sandwiches!

Ribs and Tips - They are downtown and I think only open for lunch. I hired them to cater an event and had people calling me after pleading for their name. Ribs and bbq chicken out of this world! Pilaf and ranch beans also wonderful! They are such nice people to deal with, they are a keeper in my book!

Shepards Inn (across from Amtrak) - Super yummy Basque food. Garlic fried chicken is wonderful. The shepard's meal will fill you up!

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  1. Welcome to the board, kaconway, and thanks for the mention of a couple of places that haven't gotten much if any notice.

    Are the fish tacos at Tacos Tijuana (SW corner of Belmont & Cedar) baja style (battered) or a la plancha (grilled)?

    Ribs and Tips must be fairly new, they're at 2141 N. Parkway which is just south of Clinton west of Hwy 99 (not really downtown, unless they have another location). It appears they must have taken over the digs of a Mexican place (whose name I'm blanking on) out in front of a big motel. Fresno hounds are dying for a place with good Q, will have to check it out.

    We tried Shepard's Inn after Santa Fe Basque moved out and weren't that impressed, to be fair that was some time ago. We don't really care for SFB in its new digs on N. Maroa either, and usually end up at the Old Basque Hotel just off Fresno St. on F.

    Most of the others you mentioned have been well covered, do a search of the names on this board if you're interested in others comments.

    As for authentic Mexican have you tried Don Pepe's or Zamora's? Parma is great for fine Italian.

    Our favorite Thai places are Thai Royal Orchid on Herndon, and Sweet Ginger at Shaw and Marks.

    Notice that Chinese is missing on your list, there's Imperial Garden on Blackstone south of Herdon with dim sum cart service on weekends, and Hunan at Cedar and Herndon that has a second Sichuan menu.

    Happy chowing, and keep posting.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PolarBear


      Chris from Trelio's was (unless this has changed recently) "overseeing" the food at the Downtown Club. (Not sure what the appropriate industry word is for the relationship - consulting, managing, directing??)

      1. re: PolarBear


        Thanks for the comments and the welcome. I did a search, but most of the links looked old and thought I’d freshen the date a bit. The tacos are grilled at tacos TJ. I did forget to mention the Mederterain Grill which is truly downtown. The best hummus I’ve ever had, though they are only open M-F for lunch. Let me know about the Ribs and Tips actual restaurant. As I mentioned, I’ve only used them for catering and haven’t been to their brick and mortar. Favritos in Fowler has wonderful Mexican. I will try Don Pepe's, Zamora's and Imperial Garden. Thanks for the tips.

        Tavmark – you are correct. Chris is managing the Downtown Club which is why I think it has improved so much!

      2. OK, I'll hijack the thread and report my five favorite (value) in Fresno:

        North India Grill (OK, not in Fresno, but close)-an incredibale addition to the scene
        Sweet Ginger, great Thai food--try the green curry chicken w/brown rice
        AJ's--the best consistant, value armenian food--and a good location
        Don Pepe--what can I add-it's all been said--best shrimp in the Valley
        Fleming's--yes a chain, but go for the Sunday prime rib special-actually a value

        Coincidently, the first three charge very reasonable corkage.

        1 Reply
        1. re: FAT Traveler

          FAT Traveler - Thanks for the notes. I've not heard of AJ's, but it's on my list now!!!